Uber has made headlines this year for absolutely sucking, and today's news may be the worst: an Uber customer in India was allegedly raped by her driver this weekend. Why, oh why, do we still use their services, handing over money freely when it's been so blatantly demonstrated that we're funding evil?
The rapidly growing car service has come under fire for the questionable behavior of its drivers before this weekend's horrific events. If you use the service during surge pricing, you may have to take out a loan to settle the massive debt that you've inadvertently incurred and, in the style of a company that believes it can do no wrong, a high-ranking official suggested they destroy journalists who dare to speak against them. As one does during casual dinner conversation.
It was shortly after news of this last event broke that the company received record-breaking funding to the pretty little tune of $1.2 billion.
Now, we all know the 3 a.m. drill: You've been out all night, you're equal parts exhausted, starving, and in pain. All you need in life at that moment is a comfy back seat and a nonjudgmental driver with whom to share the night's debauchery.
But here's a thought: what if we gave our business exclusively to companies whose behavior we believed in, from high-level officials to those behind the wheel?
What if we refused to validate the abusive fees, the insane smear campaign plots and the complete and utter lack of initiative to protect patrons, turning a blind eye to the shiny black cars of scandals past?
It makes sense. But there's a reason we don't and it's the source of our troubles when it comes to much more than an on-call car service.
If you're unfamiliar, the bystander effect is "a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present." People that are part of a large group assume that another person (or people) will step up and help, or in Uber's case, step up and demand change. Many of us are fully aware of the atrocities that company has either committed or allowed and yet we wait for someone else to proclaim it's a bad investment, convincing the rest of the world to abstain.
While the bystander effect itself is most often used in the context of an emergency or when just one entity is in need of assistance, we can easily apply it to our Uber conundrum by terming it the "political bystander effect," researched here.
We continue to behave as though one $10 ride here and another $30 ride there holds no weight because they're such minimal amounts of money. But when everyone involved thinks that way, that minimal $30 becomes massive. The mentality is similar to that of many voters who claim their one tiny vote makes no difference; it's simply short-sighted.
So next time you're stuck downtown without a ride, opt for the high road home. Just as you'll bemoan the four slices of street vendor pizza you downed outside the club tomorrow, you'll regret the cash you spent on Uber the next time their true colors make news.
Images: Getty (1)